A Cathartic, er Dogthartic Entry: November 21, 2010
Great Uncle Carter was the first of our dog family, now spanning 42 years. Carter, named for Carter Stanley, the bluegrass musician, had an affinity for the mailman and meter reader, and more than once he broke out through storm doors in Buffalo leaving me in bare feet to deal with the broken glass. He was a real liability.
When I found Ralph, a half starved freezing cold nearly hairless Irish setter, and brought him home, we found that he was indeed a canine of the ‘60s: he had hallucinogenic dreams and thought he could fly, from second story windows. He and Carter made great barking music together.
Next was a biter, Celeste, and we had to hide her from the front door because she would great visitors with a cute expression and wagging tail, and then chomp. Celeste was named for Queen Celeste in the Babar books, but she wasn’t regal at all.
She was followed by Porter (Wagoner) and Dolly (Parton), another stray. Porter liked to break out through the front door, and it was said that he was the creator of a cute litter of puppies in the next neighborhood. Dolly was a lovely golden with a wonderful personality, but poor dog, she suffered from seizures her whole life with us.
It was in summer of 1999 that we found Lester (Flatt) in Davidson Country (home of the infamous Sheriff Hege, of the pink jails). A wise friend told us to pick a pup from the litter with a laid back personality, and not the friendliest and most aggressive one. North Carolina summers are hot, and Lester, 6 week old pup that he was, was sleeping in a cinderblock. Literally, in the hole. We knew he had to be ours.
As a youngster, Lester loved Shark, our grand dog who often came to visit. Lester would try to clamp onto Shark’s chocolate lab side, much to our chagrin. We took Lester to obedience school, where he was trained with a very well behaved pit bull. Lester would attack the pit bull with great energy, while I hid my eyes and my heart pounded! After I got over my fear of this strange training, I realized that teaching Lester not to jump was hopeless.
And jump he did, mostly into his beloved swimming pool, as many times in a day as we would throw the ball. Lester and Earl lived to swim. They would let the grandes climb on their backs and travel, like dolphins, to the other end of the pool. Over and over and over.
We knew as summer waned that Lester was hurting, but as long as he could swim, he was enthusiastic. How we dreaded autumn!
If you go back in this blog to last February, I wrote the love story of Lester and Earl (the girl).
November is a cruel month. Yesterday, after 11 and a half years of energy, bliss and joy, Lester left this earth, but only after surveying his yard one more time and his beloved swimming pool.